The answer for me is yes. I would like to think I know some of the PNC delegates from my long years of activism, but I didn’t speak to them before the congress. If I had, I would have advised them to vote for Volda Lawrence, and not Basil Williams or Joe Harmon. And that is because Williams and Harmon have made unacceptable decisions that I find unpalatable in the menu of working class politics that I have been fed on all my life.
Lawrence is a big wig in the PNC, but my study of the government since 2015 leads me to the conclusion that Guyana is governed by presidential and cabinet deliberations, and not through party input. I believe the PNC does not shape policies for the administration. It is done at the level of the presidency and cabinet.
Dr. David Hinds is a key member of the WPA, which is part of the government, and he has written several pieces in which he stated the WPA’s input in policy-making is non-existent, because APNU does not shape the emanations of the administration. The emanations come from the presidency and cabinet. In order words, Hinds has informed us that Guyana does not have party government the way we see it in a country like the UK.
Against Hinds’s adumbration, I would think Lawrence has a lighter hand in general policy-making than Williams and Harmon.
The four important shapers of governmental directions as far as I see are the president, Harmon, Winston Jordan and Williams. Amna Ally is a Minister and the PNC’s General Secretary, but I do not think she has an input into the more formidable roads that have been chosen. And she wouldn’t, if you accept Hinds’ contention that the PNC doesn’t decide where Guyana is going – the president and an inner cabinet are the main players.
I believe it is this scenario that led to the victory of Lawrence and the strong showing of a maverick like Aubrey Norton. Here are some of the decisions that are simply unacceptable in any country. The fact that a party like the WPA is content to remain silent about them, shows that party’s widening depravity. The APNU+AFC’s position is that the state will not contest litigation against certain business entities that have sued the government, but will settle because it is the AG’s position that the state would lose.
Billions have been paid out because of this esoteric attitude. I am convinced Joe Harmon as a lawyer and minister of the presidency was part of that conclusion. I should have embarrassed both Williams and Harmon by a direct appeal to the delegates to urge both Williams and Harmon to compensate me for the termination of my UG contract which the Ombudsman has ruled as illegal. I am about to sue the state, so I would expect Williams and Harmon to call me to decide on quantum.
The penalty changes for possession of small quantities of marijuana demonstrated the opportunistic politics of Williams and Harmon. Lawrence is smarter than both of her two contenders; that is why she beat them so badly. She stayed silent on the issue when AFC parliamentarian Michael Carrington was publicly accusing the PNC of not wanting the amendment.
Harmon first showed his hand and unfortunately didn’t understand the law. When the farmer was jailed for having eight grams six weeks ago, he publicly said that the law is the law and the magistrate had to so rule. That is not correct. Harmon is a lawyer, so he cannot be excused. The law allows for special circumstances. If the farmer has small children to feed and he is the income earner of the family, then a jail term was not mandatory.
Williams went further than Harmon. He said changing the anti-narcotic law should entail a referendum. When I criticized that eerie statement of his, he met me at the birthnight celebration of Bert Wilkinson and told me that I wouldn’t understand him because I am not a lawyer.
I remind readers that the PNC leadership made an election campaign promise to remove that internecine clause of the law. I shared the campaign platform with Williams at two public meetings and the issue was ventilated. Is it possible that some of the delegates had young sons who are in jail for marijuana possession?
Finally, the chairman of Chronicle Board is Geeta Chandan who is an employee in Harmon’s ministry. One night, Geeta told me she was going all-out the next day to confront the editor for removing David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis because his reasons were flawed. She didn’t. I know who stopped her.
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